The terms “Hospitalist” and “primary care for women” (and men) have of late been making quite a few rounds in national headlines and bill drafts. That’s because many of the country’s top noggins have been fervently debating the future of America’s health care system — ideological battles that are expected to rage on in the nation’s legislative halls for some time to come. Doctors, alongside administrative professionals and politicians have been trying to craft, and sell to their peers and the ordinary folk that make up the general public, the idea that they are getting closer to more effective solutions to the perplexing dilemmas they’ve been encountering for decades now.
Over in the frontlines, inside the country’s hospitals, the political and philosophical combat is somewhat attenuated by the pressing patient needs at the operating tables and maternity wards, but the tumult of changing political currents is still perceptible. One manifestation that’s been noticeable in emergency rooms is the upswell of hospitalists, that is, doctors completely dedicated to hospital practice. These medical professionals work in hospitals full-time instead of dividing their time between a hospital and a private practice. For individual doctors, the upside to taking up this kind of institutional commitment is a far more regular working schedule. Nevertheless, on the other side of the medical practice rift, doctors, researchers and — quite importantly — patients, have persistently been putting forth their concerns about a hospitalist system’s diminishing returns when it comes to continuity of care. What does this mean?
It means that patient feedback, and highly reputable studies on the subject, have been pointing to evidence suggesting the expected gains in medical efficiency, cost, and quality of care, through hospitalist efforts, are not as unwaveringly excellent as early proponents promised. There have been complaints of patients being discharged somewhat prematurely from hospitals and a sense of disconnection felt by patients on account of not seeing one single doctor on a regular basis. For the most part, patients report better experiences at private practices dedicated to internal medicine and primary care.